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25 Feb 2003 : Column 520W—continued

Health Protection Agency

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment was made of the model adopted by the National Assembly for Wales for a unified

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infection service for Wales when his Department decided on the establishment of the Health Protection Agency. [95869]

Ms Blears: The Department of Health and the National Assembly for Wales each took the other's proposals into account in developing proposals for England and Wales respectively.

Health Service Ombudsman

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will ask the Health Service Ombudsman to report on the implementation of the Court of Appeal Judgment R v. North and East Health Authority (Ex parte Coughlan) (1999) in cases already investigated. [97674]

Jacqui Smith: The Ombudsman is independent of the national health service and government. The Secretary of State is not able to ask the Ombudsman to report on particular issues.

Heart Choice Scheme

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what qualifications are required for a person wishing to become a patient care adviser for the Heart Choice Scheme. [97311]

Ms Blears: Patient care advisers (PCA) are expected to have an appropriate clinical background, and a majority of those in post come from nursing. Beyond this, PCAs need to combine clinical knowledge with excellent organisational and networking skills, and above all to be effective advocates for the patients they are supporting.


Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cases of hepatoxicity have been reported in the United Kingdom in each of the last 10 years. [96175]

Ms Blears: Hepatoxicity may be caused by a number of external sources including the use or misuse of alcohol, certain drugs as well as infection and injury. The Department does not routinely collect figures on the number of cases of hepatoxicity reported in the United Kingdom.

Table 1 provides data on the number of admissions to national health service hospitals in England where the reason for admission was alcoholic liver failure or toxic liver disease in the years 1995–96 to 2001–02. These figures are given in accordance with the derivation of hepatoxicity by NHS clinical coders.

Table 1: Breakdown of hospital admissions related to alcoholic or toxic liver disease

Alcoholic liver failureToxic liver disease

The Yellow Card Scheme is a scheme by which health professionals in the UK can report suspected adverse reactions to medicinal products. Data are colleted and

reviewed by the Medices Control Agency, with independent advice from the Committee on Safety of Medicines. Approximately 18,000 reports of suspected adverse reactions to medicines are received through the scheme each year.

Table 2 provides a breakdown of the number of reports of hepatoxicity received in association with any medicine through the Yellow Card Scheme by year since 1993. These reports include all levels of severity of liver problems, from mild elevations of liver enzymes to liver failure. It is important to note that a report of suspected adverse reaction through the scheme does not necessarily mean that it was caused by the medicine.

Data from the Yellow Card Scheme cannot be used to calculate the incidence of medicine-related liver injury as not all adverse reaction to medicines are reported.

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Table 2: Number of reports of hepatoxicity suspected to be due to medicines reported through the Yellow Card Scheme

Year receivedNumber of reports


Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the number of people infected by HIV/AIDS in (a) Brighton and Hove City, (b) West Sussex and (c) East Sussex. [96029]

Ms Blears: Information on the number of people infected with HIV/AIDS attending statutory services for HIV-related care is collected by the Public Health Laboratory Service's annual survey of prevalent HIV infections diagnosed.

In 2001, the latest year for which these data are available, there were 800 HIV-infected residents in the East Sussex, Brighton and Hove health authority, of whom 628 were resident in Brighton and Hove local authority. There were 206 HIV-infected people living in West Sussex health authority.

Hospital Managers

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hospital managers there are in the Hull and East Yorkshire NHS Hospitals Trust. [96698]

Jacqui Smith: The information as at 30 September 2001 is shown in the table.

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Whole Time EquivalentsHeadcount
All Managers165170
of which:
Administration and Estates 136141
Nursing 23 23
Scientific, Therapeutic and Technical6 6


Figures are rounded to the nearest whole number.


Department of Health Non Medical Workforce Census (30 September 2001).

Illegal Part-time Employment

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures he is taking to protect children aged 13 to 15 engaged in illegal part-time employment; and if he will make a statement. [98102]

Jacqui Smith: The Children and Young Persons Act 1933, as amended, is the primary legislation covering the employment of all children below the minimum school leaving age. Section 21 of the Act allows for those employing children and young people in contravention of the Act and any byelaws made under it to be prosecuted.


Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his latest estimate is of the average length of stay for in-patients in an NHS hospital in England; and what the average length of stay was in February (a) 2002, (b) 2000, (c) 1998 and (d) 1996. [97839]

Mr. Hutton: The average length of stay for ordinary admissions to national health service hospital trusts in England over years from April to March is shown in the table.

Average length of stay (days)


1. Day cases are excluded. Figures relate to all admissions, including general and acute, mental health and maternity.

2. Data in this table are adjusted for both coverage and unknown/invalid clinical data, except for 2001–02 which is not yet adjusted for shortfalls.

3. The length of stay relates to spells finishing over the period; some bed days may have preceded the start of the year.


Hospital Episodes Statistics

Internet Medical Companies

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what controls he has introduced to ensure that doctors who service internet medical companies provide patient consultations. [97664]

Mr. Hutton: Doctors who service internet medical companies do so in a private capacity. A doctor has a duty of care towards patients, no matter how the service is provided. The General Medical Council (CMC)

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advises the profession that, in its view, advice and prescribing by e-mail may seriously compromise standards of care; where the doctor does not previously know the patient, where no examination can be provided and where there is little or no provision for proper patient follow-up care. A doctor in the United Kingdom who fails to discharge the duty of care towards patients is liable to investigation and disciplinary action by the GMC.

Medical Procedures

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many hospitals in the UK are equipped to perform flexible sigmoidoscopies;. [96070]

Ms Blears: The national average costs of a rigid and flexible sigmoidoscopy are shown in the following table. These procedures can be undertaken in a variety of settings and the table reflects this. The costs shown are for the financial year 2001–02 ending on 31 March 2002.

Full details of these costs can be found in the "Reference Costs 2002", which is available in the Library. They are available to the public via the Department of Health's website.


Patient typeRigid SigmoidoscopyFlexible Sigmoidoscopy
In-patient: Elective591591
In-patient: Non-elective435435
Day Case315315

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time is for a flexible or rigid sigmoidoscopy procedure in each hospital trust in England. [96073]

Ms Blears: Information on waiting times for sigmoidoscopy procedures are not centrally available. Waiting times for consultant led inpatient elective admissions and consultant led first outpatient appointments following general practitioner referral are collected on the consultant's main speciality, not by procedure.

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